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History Bias versus radials...Oh noo!! Not again!!!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hotrodmano, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. hotrodmano
    Joined: May 3, 2011
    Posts: 387

    from Norway

    I have noticed lately that more and more so called "traditional Hot rods" are pictured and presented here using radial tires. More recently in a tread here where over 50 % pictured wears radials.
    In my opinion a "traditional Hot rod" is no more traditional than any other rod, IF you run radials. Its like a thorn in my eye when I see it and frankly I dont see the point. A relativly lightweight A- Bone or 32-34 is not an issue to drive with plys. So why kill the look with those terrible tires. And if you are lurking around here, you are here because you like traditional hot rods...right?? Or did I miss something along the road? Same With traditional customs too although I can undestand it better hiding those meats under fenders and its a heavier car to drive also. but just to make it Clear: It doesnt look good. (To me anyway)
    Maybe Im pouring some gas into anyones fire here but its my 2....or 5 cents anyway he he.:D
    Any thoughts, fire Ahead.:cool: Ka booom!!! :eek:
  2. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 21,584

    Staff Member

    I couldn’t agree more. There are no good reasons to run radials on cars that were designed for bias plies.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Not a radial tire in the bunch

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  3. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,080


    After ten years of bias Firestones on my 32, I am considering some Excelsior radials for use on long distance trips. The longitudinal grooves in the concrete interstates are what makes my drive a royal pain. Constantly darting left and right.

    Over the winter I'm going to rebuild the F-1 steering box with a very nice sector I've found and see if that will make a difference first.
    ls1yj and LOU WELLS like this.
  4. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,347


    I could not agree more......not again.

  5. Fogger
    Joined: Aug 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,564


    I have two sets of wheels and tires for my '32 roadster. Bias Firestones on Kelseys and radials on artillery wheels. I have experienced the same lane darting and vibrations described by Alchemy with the bias tires. If anyone is considering a long distance trip at freeway speeds the radials are a huge improvement in safety, comfort and handling. I've talked to the Bones guys at the LARS, and they run radials for their cross country trips. I agree with their choice. Bias tires look period but not a good choice for traveling at speed.
    Elcohaulic and High Plains Bug like this.
  6. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 4,814

    sloppy jalopies

    I agree,
    but a slight shimmy in a bias ply is absorbed by the radials...
    what I want is wide white, pie crust, tall n' skinny radials...
    hello coker ! DSCN1579.JPG
  7. The question becomes this how is the car built ( suspension) and what is its common usage.

    I personally am a cheap bastard, most people know that and I am not ashamed or proud of the fact it is just a fact. The first car I ever owned with radials had a pair of radials on the rear, it was an OT car and it was mid '70s. Literally everyone I knew was running radials, I couldn't justify the cost.

    I since have run radials on about one of everything, but I was still running bias plys on my mud trucks in Mexico into the '90s. They were better mud tires.

    If I was planning radials on a hot rod the hot rod would have the suspension built for the radials. What does that actually mean? It needs the shocks need to be dampened differently and springs beefed up which actually entails beefing the chassis up on most of our cars as well. It is a skid pad proven fact that if you slam a car into a corner, that was not originally built to run radials and not modified to run them will collapse the suspension. What does that mean. it will actually preform better with bias plys than it will with radials according to the tests. In brake tests the radials also did not perform as well because of dive on braking.

    Dragsters, ask anyone who has gone from bias plys to drag radials what happens to their times. The suspensions has to be retuned to run the radials, just bolting them on has an adverse effect. IE cars handle goofy and ETs get larger not smaller.

    I have said all of this before and maybe if I say it often enough it will finally sink in.

    Will I run radials on my hot rod, probably as I said to start with I am a cheap bastard. :oops: :eek:
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
    elcamino59, LOU WELLS and jcmarz like this.
  8. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 21,762


  9. The cost of being a traditionalist is usually what determines just how traditional the car in question will be.

    Lets face it radial tires are cheaper than bias ply,as is a sbc cheaper than a flathead to build. HRP
    old crank, dirt t, deadbeat and 6 others like this.
  10. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,483


    You just can't get a radial tire to look like a bias tire, because they are made differently. The bias tire has stiff sidewalls, the radial has soft sidewalls. They deform differently. And they ride differently, because the bias tire makes the car follow the road, while the radial will let the tread move sideways, relative to the car, so the car can go straight, while the tread is moving side to side a little.

    We definitely waste too much time talking about it.
  11. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,161


    "IF you run radials. Its like a thorn in my eye when I see it and frankly I don't see the point. "

    Sorry about your eye, but I like to take trips, LONG trips, like 2000 or 3000 mile trips. I'll be doing the driving on radials, thank you.

    If you're just buzzin' down the the local DQ for a cruise night, bias ply tires are fine and I DO like the looks of them - I grew up with them. But do what you like with what you can afford and I'll do the same, but keep your likes & dislikes to yourself - nobody really gives a damn anyway.
    crashfarmer, ls1yj, scotty t and 10 others like this.
  12. G .
    Joined: Nov 3, 2017
    Posts: 88

    G .
    from Austin

    I'm just tired of seeing "traditional hot rods" use modern fuels with incorrect octane ratings or oil without zinc levels from 1938.

    Dont even get me started on halogen headlights.
  13. Actually the zinc levels of oil is moving back toward 1938. They didn't increase zinc levels of oil until they began increasing valve spring pressures.

    What bugs me is people running modern air in their tires. I mean hell way back in the '50s when the air was less polluted the air I our tires had was less hydrocarbons in them. :rolleyes:
  14. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,732


    The old cars look happy with the bias plys. But they drive a little crazy, in my experience. For long drives, radials. For a trip to the Dairy Queen or the car show, bias plys win.
    elcamino59 and dirty old man like this.
  15. The bias plys on my 40 rode fine and it didn't wander too much. What worried me was stopping, and wet road grip. I turned onto my street at 10 miles an hour with a wet street and the car pushed straight for the curb like I was on ice. That, in combination with drum brakes that would lock up way easy got me nervous. But I will admit two things:
    1. My front tires were 500/525's and were skinny (pizza cutters) which wasn't good for traction.
    2. Disc brakes might have helped out in the stopping/locking department, while retaining the Bias Plys.

    That all being said, my 56 Buick has a new set of 760 15 firestones, and I'm gonna run them.
    Jugornot likes this.
  16. A Boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 6,150

    A Boner

    Wish someone like Bruce Meyer would somehow get involved in creating and marketing a proper looking tire that works really well.
  17. I put 40K on one of my mud trucks the first year that I owned it on the crappiest roads in the northern hemisphere when I was living on the Isthmus. No problems.

    I drove or rode on bias plys coast to coast more then once. The difference is that I grew up with bias plys, I know how to drive and they were what I had.

    I actually own two modern cars now with radials and my bike runs on radials too. All of them came with radials from the factory.

    The comparison is apples to oranges, they drive differently and handle differently.

    Looks? Well at this stage of the game I have paid my dues. I still prefer the look of a bias ply on an old hooptie, but I can live without being one of the cool kids. Cool has never been an issue with me.

    LOL if it would not get me a serious scolding I would start a thread called front drive V rear drive. That could be as interesting.o_O:rolleyes::D
    Old wolf likes this.
  18. A steel belt in a radial loosens up and they fly apart and the tire beats the bejabbers out of the vehicle. many times the tire doesn't even go flat. A bias with a tube will sometimes blow out but it doesn't beat the car body. A bias tubeless goes flat and no harm no foul. Look in any junk tire pile. You will see lots of radials that look new with deep tread. and the Bias ply's will be worn smooth.
  19. G .
    Joined: Nov 3, 2017
    Posts: 88

    G .
    from Austin

    Yeah... FINALLY. Thanks in no small part to the diligence of people like myself.
  20. Mac30
    Joined: Oct 8, 2008
    Posts: 275

    1. S.F.C.C.

    Diamond back has a nice set of bias looking radial. Has anyone seen these in person or experience the quality?


    Sent from my Pixel using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    sloppy jalopies likes this.
  21. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,990

    from Zoar, Ohio

    Just a thought that’s entered my mind while reading this post......
    I really believe the H.A.M.B. and its original participants were instrumental in making traditional cars popular during the height of the street rod era.
    I can recall getting my ass handed to me in a box during those days when I brought up the thought anything representing pre-50 rods should have hopped up original engines.
    I for one am not bent on using modern components on these cars as long as they favor the look of timely tradition. Build what YOU like. That’s all that matters.
    prez and Jugornot like this.
  22. exactly. I radial even an Aramid or Kevlar belted tire will be worn out long before the tread is gone. I cannot even count the cars that have come to me because they needed a new suspension that got a rebuilt suspension via a set of new tires. All the noise and goofyness gone once the internally worn radials were replaced.

    I have run bias plys ( back when I was still running them) until you could see the air in 'em. ;)
    hotrodmano likes this.
  23. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,260


    It will be a cold day in Hell when looks come before safety on one of my cars.

    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  24. the bias ply vs radial tires discussion will go on forever and i will not change my mind. it's radials for me since i don't consider any of my hot rods traditional. build your car the way you want

    28tudor2.jpg 30coupe.jpg 36coupea.jpg
  25. Oh yeah? Do you have anti lock brakes and airbags as well or nah???
  26. I had an airbag on my Harley once. I dumped her off at a truck stop. LOL
    jimmysweden, tul01, 37hotrod and 10 others like this.
  27. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,174


    A couple reasons most run radials is price and availability. You can get a radial to fit most of our cars for less than $100 for the front and less than $150 for the rear at a tire place down the street.
    Bias tires seem to start at $175 and go up quickly in price and you need to order them. Most tire stores do their best to talk you out of them if you try to order them from them. If you bring them in from someplace else they give you attitude and charge you more than normal to mount and balance them. If they will even do it. I have heard both sides of the argument as to why.
    If a customer brings me tires from Coker or Universal I mount them for the same price as any other tire. If they don't balance or have any problem, I charge them to take them off and remount the next tire. They have to handle the problem then not me. If I sell them the tire it is on me. Not that there are many problems with new tires.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
    Dino 64 likes this.
  28. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,260


    cactus1, Nah! You have to draw the line somewhere.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
    old crank likes this.
  29. I dont mind much what another feller runs on his car, I aint driving it. That being said, radials are cheap and Im broke. Radials it is.
    Jugornot and firstinsteele like this.

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